Doherty wins in Gold Coast

Con Doherty_GoldCoast Podium 2019

It was a successful weekend for Con Doherty in Australia - topping the podium at the 2019 Gold Coast OTU Sprint Triathlon Oceania Cup.

This is Con's third race of his trip to the Southern Hemisphere having raced Mooloolaba World Cup and New Plymouth World Cup in recent weeks. Read below Con's account of his race day and plans for the next few months. 

"A RACE OF REASSURANCE"

After a poor performance a week ago, a race of reassurance was much needed. I could pinpoint a few things that might have led to a bad day last weekend, but in the back of my mind I wondered if part of it might be that I just wasn't in good enough form. I've put in quite a lot of quality training since putting my academics on hold at the beginning of January to focus solely on triathlon. In fact, I'm in the best form that I've ever been in across all three disciplines, but still my mind wandered and formulated ideas like; 'Yeah, you're fast, but maybe the endurance isn't there?' or 'Being fast in training means nothing, maybe you've got worse at racing?'. Although not necessarily the most helpful thoughts, they didn't faze me too much. I took solace somewhat by reminding myself that I'm doing so many things right and I'm doing my best, so whatever happens, happens. So rather than worry, I took a couple things I learnt from the week before that I didn't do well, and made sure to do them this time round.

The race itself took place in Gold Coast, Queensland at 6:15am on a Sunday morning. The sun was barely breaking the horizon as 74 guys lined up for a beach start with each one of us feeling a bit more nervous than usual due to the first turn bouy being located just 60m in front of us! When the gun went, all 74 guys sprinted towards the bouy as though that was the race itself. As you can imagine, 74 elites swim 60m in pretty much the same time. It was a 90 degree right-hand turn at the first bouy, feeding into a long stretch down the coastline. I applied a couple of things I'd learned from the week before and found myself exiting the water in the top half of the swim, making one of the best; if not the best, swims I've ever had.

QUICK TRANSITIONS

A nifty T1 saw me make up a few more positions, with just 15 seconds to catch up to the first guys. I've been working on improving my TT position on my road bike, without negatively impacting power output and comfort and I think it's paying dividends. I put the head down and rode with the help of one or two other guys to catch the front group. We caught up within 3k, but then the pace slowed a little and another group from behind caught up. The group now contained about half the field. As we made our way along the second of three laps, a crash happened right in front of me. I was lucky in that I could see in happen a couple of seconds before it happened, but unfortunately I knew I couldn't avoid it. Two guys touched wheels and took out 4-5 guys. I stopped the bike in time to avoid falling to the ground, but the rest of the peloton were already up the road. As quickly as I could, I jumped back on the bike. For the next 2-3 minutes I time trialled as hard as I could just to get back to the front group, but I managed. As soon as I got back on, I sat in the group as cutely as I could to recover from the effort and keep myself in a good position. Getting off the bike and into T2, I managed to have another pretty solid transition, exiting 6th onto the run.

Con Doherty_GoldCoast_Finish2019
Photo Credit: Darrin Braybrook | Triathlon Australia

The run consisted of two laps; but within the first 600m, I found myself leading the race. I got into as relaxed a state as possible and put myself into that perfect place of pain that can only be sustained for exactly as long as it takes to complete the race. As I approached the turn around to go onto the second lap, I could see the penalty box with just one number on it; my number. I could see it was for something I'd done in transition. I quickly thought 'I can't remember doing anything wrong!'. I had the choice; take the penalty and play it safe, or continue on, get disqualified for not taking the penalty and then appeal the decision on the basis that I did nothing wrong. Unsure of whether I did everything right, I took the 10 second penalty. 1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5.. 6.. (Three competitors pass by) 7.. 8... 9..... GOOO!!!! In a bit of a panic, I chase the guys as quickly as possible and catch them within 300m. Realising I've caught them so quickly, I take no extra time and pass them out. Unexpectedly, I can hear one guy is hanging on my shoulder, Australian athlete; Max Neumann. I put in an effort, but can't drop him. I put in another effort but he's still hanging on. Knowing I've been running slightly quicker than he has, I stay in front and keep the pace high in hopes of burning his legs out. With 300m to go, I realise it's gonna be a sprint finish, and my history with sprint finishes isn't paved with gold. However, it's been something I've worked on, and I choose to back myself and recognise the training I've done to allow myself to kick if I need. As we approach the finishing shoot with 100m to go, I empty myself and it's enough to take the win.

up next

Aside from the obvious high of winning, it was a performance that justifies where I'm at and casts any doubts away. It's still early in the season, so the added confidence could prove invaluable, and I have no doubt I can continue to get even quicker in the coming months. Up next is just a solid month of training in a great training group with some of the world's best under the direction of Coach Warwick Dalziel here in Brisbane, Australia. After that, it's lots more racing, and hopefully; lots more to write home about.

Full results from 2019 Gold Coast OTU Sprint Triathlon Oceania Cup.

You can follow Con's journey on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.